The Power of the Proposal

When it comes to the essentials of a public relations strategy, speaking engagements are among the most valuable tools for engaging with audiences directly and demonstrating a company’s prowess and expertise. Thankfully, speaking engagements are plentiful these days and open to nearly anyone at almost every event. Landing those speaking engagements, however, is easier said than done.

Enter the speaking proposal.

This document has become the primary way for most conferences and events to evaluate potential speakers, and ultimately decides if you and your topic are worthy of a coveted speaking slot. With so much riding on this one document, it’s critical to ensure your speaking proposal gets high marks across all items event organizers are looking for. To make your proposal stand out from the stack, be sure to include these three key items.

Customer Voice. If you are a vendor, speaking alongside a customer is a must. And even if you’re a provider, a patient voice is highly recommended. Not only does incorporating a customer’s point of view validate the credibility of your claims, some events and conferences now require that a proposal include it to even be considered. Plus, tradeshow and industry event audiences are typically comprised of your customers’ peers, and are in attendance to learn of new, innovative, and successful ways to solve their most pressing challenges. What better example for your prospective customers to learn from and trust in than that of one of their peers?

Data, Data, and More Data. As you cull through your list of customers for inclusion in a speaking proposal, consider the amount of data they can produce or results they have seen due to using your product or service. As with any other successful media or thought leadership initiative, data and results are key factors that not only make your speaking submission credible, but demonstrate that it is replicable. It’s the ultimate proof that what you’re selling – your service, product or experience – is effective and successfully used by other organizations. Any time you can point to tangible results, you greatly increase the chances of your proposal being accepted.

The “So What.” By now you’ve locked down your customer and the appropriate results to share. So what? This last item is what truly sets your speaking proposal apart from the others. What makes you different? How does your customer’s experience differ from that of their peers, and in such a way that others should consider following? What about you – what is your previous speaking history, what do you do in your free time, and what are your unique points of view on your speaking proposal topic? The “so what” gives your proposal color and personality, and is vital when you are living in a sea of sameness.  Your carefully crafted answers to these questions will make the speaking proposal cream rise to the top.

Speaking proposals are more art than science – there are many variations and many ways to make your unique message and voice heard. And while even the best composed proposal can’t guarantee a speaking slot, including these three items will make your speaking proposal stand out from the competition and greatly increase your chances of landing that dream speaking gig.

April 25, 2017
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